For more than a century, we have been the center of pediatric health and wellness at Johns Hopkins, providing compassionate and comprehensive care that supports the individual child, as well the entire family.
Hear stories of hope and success from some of the children and families who have visited Johns Hopkins Children’s Center over the years.
Meet Our Kids
After scans revealed that 21-month-old Allie had a baseball-sized tumor on her liver, she was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma, a rare liver cancer.
After Bobby was diagnosed with a rare malignant rhabdoid sarcoma on his liver, he developed veno-occlusive disease, a rare complication from the chemotherapy that can cause kidney failure.
After 8-year old Elianna hit her head while swimming, doctors discovered a brain aneurysm and she needed emergency brain surgery.
On the day Juliet's parents brought their newborn daughter home, they received a call that Juliet had sickle cell anemia, a hereditary red blood cell disorder.
During a 20-week anatomy scan, Max's parents learned that doctors found a hole in his heart and that he would need open-heart surgery after birth.
A few weeks after testing positive for COVID-19, 8-year-old Naomi began having difficulty breathing and heart pain. She was then diagnosed with multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C).
At 14-years-old, Noah's hand started shaking and his speech started to slur. Imaging determined that he had suffered a stroke, and two more followed a year and half later.
During an anatomy ultrasound, the physician detected something he had never seen firsthand — twin reversed arterial perfusion — so he immediately referred Hope's family to Johns Hopkins Children's Center.
While roughhousing, Jake took a tumble, hitting his jaw. His jaw started to swell and by the next day it was the size of a softball, so his dentist referred him to Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.
When Kendall was 3 years old, doctors diagnosed her with Evans syndrome, a rare autoimmune disease in which the body makes antibodies that destroy red blood cells, platelets and white blood cells.
During delivery, doctors became concerned when baby Kinsley’s heart rate dropped rapidly: The umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck. She was barely breathing and had only a slight pulse.
After Maci’s mother noticed that 6-year-old Maci’s stomach was swelling and that her face was puffy, doctors diagnosed her with nephrotic syndrome.
Mo has been celebrated across Baltimore and the entire country for his incredible ability to smile, remain optimistic and spread positivity, even when faced with cancer four times in his 14 years.
When Navy's parents learned they were expecting, they couldn’t have been happier. But halfway into the pregnancy, they received shocking news: Their little bundle of joy had a heart defect.
Last Memorial Day, 15-year-old TJ went longboarding with some neighborhood friends. They found a new hill, and the next thing TJ remembers is waking up in the grass across the street.
Emily delivered Abby via emergency c-section at 26 weeks and 3 days. Born with underdeveloped lungs and intestines, Abby underwent surgery in her private NICU room when she was just 27 hours old.
6-year-old Ava lived a healthy life until she awoke one morning with extreme pain in her knee. Her pediatrician suspected a septic knee infection and said she could be at risk of septic shock.
On Father’s Day, Bridget woke up with extreme stomach pain. Scans revealed a 10 cm mass, a lymphoma likely caused by the anti-rejection medicine she was on after a heart transplant at age 2.
An average car ride turned into a life-changing experience for 14-year-old Cole. While he was asleep in the back seat, his grandfather blacked out and lost control of the car, hitting a pole.
Jaxon’s mother, Dawn, first noticed something was wrong with him while she was looking at old photos. The 8-year-old had lost quite a bit of weight since the photos were taken.
On Leo’s fourth day of life, doctors found that he likely had pontocerebellar hyperplasia, an extremely rare terminal genetic disorder that impacts the development of the brain.
Liam’s journey with cystic fibrosis started even before he was born. At 20 weeks pregnant, his mom Suzi went in for a prenatal ultrasound when doctors noticed that something was wrong.
Diagnosed with cystic kidneys at birth, Lucy was on dialysis until she could have a transplant. At just 16 pounds, she was the smallest and youngest patient to receive a new kidney at the Children’s Center.
After hearing MacKenzie slur a word, her parents knew something was wrong. Scans revealed a devastating egg-sized brain tumor that returned four times.
Tyler’s parents received a phone call that he had been severely burned in a bonfire incident at a friend’s house. He was airlifted to the Children’s Center where he immediately underwent surgery.
At 20 weeks in utero, Daniel was diagnosed with posterior urethral valves. His local hospital performed two surgeries, but the eventual need for bladder surgery and a kidney transplant led his family to Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.
After welcoming a new kitten home, 8-year-old Destiny developed a lump on her leg and was eventually diagnosed with cat scratch disease at Johns Hopkins Children's Center. The infection spread to her brain, causing epilepsy.
Emme’s parents first noticed something was wrong shortly after her first birthday, when she started learning to walk: Emme never took more than a few steps at a time. An MRI revealed a large tumor on her cerebellum.
As a baby, Emmy was diagnosed with life-threatening food allergies to many common foods. In addition to an anaphylactic reaction, she would experience contact reactions from touching surfaces that had food residue.
At 2 weeks old, L.J. began to have difficulty breathing. After extensive monitoring, ER visits and echocardiograms, doctors diagnosed him with a rare hematological disorder called juvenile xanthogranuloma.
At 15, Micah caught a cold that changed his life. His chest hurt, and he had trouble breathing. The next thing he knew, he was on his way to Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, where a chest X-ray revealed he had myocarditis.
At age 3, doctors diagnosed Shivaya with a central giant cell granuloma that was eating away her right jawbone and causing pain. She underwent an extensive jawbone resection and reconstruction—a far from uncomplicated surgery.
On a December day, 14-year-old Taurian was at home playing a video game when he smelled smoke. When he heard the fire alarm he rushed down to the kitchen, where he was accosted by smoke and saw flames on the stove.
While potty training, Alivia's parents noticed differences in the way she was going to the bathroom. After countless doctor visits over three years, Alivia’s underwent surgery far from her Chicago home.
At age 5, Declan’s parents noticed he was getting frequent headaches and had stopped growing. While testing for growth hormone deficiency, an MRI revealed that Declan had a large craniopharyngioma brain tumor.
Meet Elle and Emme
Doctors gave Elle and Emme a 10 percent to 15 percent chance of survival when they were born at 25 weeks. Two days later, their parents received more bad news: both girls had bleeding in their brains.
When a rare gastrointestinal defect was discovered at Iaan's 20-week-ultrasound, doctors referred him to Johns Hopkins Children’s Center to undergo surgery at less than 24 hours old.
Meet John Jr.
After seven years of hospital visits and doctors’ appointments across the country, John Jr. was diagnosed with a large vascular malformation that made him reliant on a wheelchair and required surgery to correct.
Born with hypoplastic right heart syndrome, Kamari’s heart was unable to pump blood to his lungs and oxygenate his body, and he underwent his first major heart surgery at just 3 days old.
When newborn Louisa wasn’t eating, specialists discovered she had congenital ileal atresia, meaning that her large and small intestines had not formed together. She underwent her first surgery at 4 days old.
Mo’s mother first noticed something was wrong when his eyes appeared white in a family photo taken when he was a baby. Now 12, Mo is on the verge of beating cancer for the third time.
Zaiden, a foster child, was diagnosed with underdeveloped kidneys in infancy, which made finding him a permanent home more difficult. But his adoptive mother says that’s part of what made him special.
At age 9, Kyle’s parents took him in for tests, suspecting a GI problem. Everything seemed fine, except that Kyle’s red blood cell count was very low. Doctors at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center admitted Kyle to the pediatric oncology unit, ultimately diagnosing him with stage 3b Hodgkin lymphoma.
Doctors at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center diagnosed Mady with cystic fibrosis at only 6 weeks old. Despite undergoing daily therapy and taking 24 pills each day, at 7 years old, Mady is learning to manage her condition while still living a normal, active life.
At 2 months old, Sutton contracted Group B streptococcal meningitis and spent 7.5 weeks as an inpatient at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. A month later, doctors diagnosed Sutton with cerebral palsy, a complication of the brain bleeds and strokes caused by the meningitis.
At 17 months old, Jocelyn contracted a virus that settled into her heart. During a heart biopsy at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, Jocelyn went into cardiac arrest, and doctors placed her on life support. Jocelyn needed a heart transplant to save her life. Years later, Jocelyn once again needed a new heart.
At 4-and-a-half years old, Nick fell out of a shopping cart and suffered a traumatic brain injury. Nick’s vitals crashed three times in the ambulance, and after immediately being rushed into surgery, doctors at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center told Nick’s mom, Kathy, he likely wouldn’t make it.
Diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at age 11, doctors referred James to Johns Hopkins Children’s Center where he has undergone multiple surgeries and critical hospitalizations. Now 15, he refuses to let the daily management of his lifelong disease interfere with his love of sports.
In infancy, Alexandra “Alex” Hershfield was diagnosed with allergies to milk, eggs and tree nuts. Doctors said Alex would never be able to eat foods containing milk, eggs or tree nuts.
After a mosquito bite lead to a low-grade fever, Amber's pediatrician was concerned to find her spleen enlarged. An ultrasound revealed the worst: Amber had a large mass, likely cancerous, on her left kidney, pushing her spleen forward.
“I’m sorry I ruined your anniversary,” are the last words Brooke and Ken Jones heard from their son, Anderson, before doctors at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center performed life-saving surgery on the 9-year-old.
Two-year-old Bridget Diveley was a perfectly healthy toddler until September 2009 when she suddenly developed dilated cardiomyopathy. Her doctors believed it was triggered by a random viral infection.
When their daughter, Jayla, was 10 months-old, her parents, LaToya and Dan, noticed unexplained weight loss. She was drinking more bottles than usual, and her diapers needed frequent changing, more than her siblings’ at that age. Concerned, LaToya took Jayla to a local emergency room.
On Memorial Day weekend 2014, a fun weekend at her grandparents’ farmhouse in Virginia turned into a nightmare for Reese Burdette and her sister, Brinkley. A fire broke out. Brinkley and her grandfather escaped unharmed. Seven year-old Reese and her grandmother did not.
John and Carrie were concerned when they noticed their baby, Sarah, had stopped growing. In the sixtieth percentile for weight at her six-month checkup, Sarah dropped to zero percentile at her year checkup.
Clayton Cowan, of Fulton, MD, was born with a rare disease called chronic granulomatous disease (CGD), which occurs only in one out of a million people.
Days after her 5th birthday, Demi began having trouble seeing, standing or walking. After hours of testing, doctors diagnosed her with a brain bleed.
Lucy was a perfectly healthy infant until the fall of 2011, when her parents noticed that the shape of her head was changing.
A routine visit to Olivia's pediatrician brought troubling news: a large, abnormal lump in her stomach that required additional testing.
A few hours after birth, doctors diagnosed Sadie with Group B Streptoccocal septicemia, a bacterial infection of the blood.
In 2012, an annual Father's Day weekend camping tradition on the Eastern Shore turned into a nightmare for the Black family.
Doctors diagnosed Zannah with a ventricular septal defect (VSD), an abnormal opening between the lower two chambers of the heart, and hypoplastic right heart, an underdeveloped right side of the heart.